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The Forum Posts

CrowdLeaf Newsletter 16th November 2017

Life’s Evils & The Damage of Climate Change

There is an exponential global risk of growing poverty and displaced people induced by extreme weather, political turbulence and environmental damage many of which are events beyond our imagination. Global warming is taken scientifically as a given, with nearly all scientists agreeing that climate change would happen with or without people’s interference, though to a lesser degree and slower pace. It is therefore safe to say that the climate is not helped by the human populace. The collective lack of preparations to mitigate the effects of global warming are bordering on self-induced mass harm, while the switch to more environmentally friendly policies and clean and sustainable energy is nowhere near fast nor bold enough to provide the alternative. Surely these perpetrators are aware that we are all on the same planet and so far nobody can get off. As of 2013 renewable energy provides 21.7% of all electricity generated across the globe, not enough. This is heading in the right direction but with oil licenses still being given and mines still opening for coal and other fossil fuels the percentage change is demeaned by the negative impact of continued bad practice.
Since the beginning of time civilisations have fought and changed, almost evolved as a society often with its back to the wall. A classic example is to think of when man used to live in caves during an ice age, to when societies were formed and measures to stop us killing each other were implemented. Laws that govern societies and progress towards a better level of health and the tackling of the evils of life such as poverty, were met with ambitious targets to alleviate these plights. The issues are now more of regulatory capture of states such as those with powerful fossil fuel lobbies, or an.over reliance on fossil fuels such as OPEC countries. OPEC countries such as Venezuela rely on oil revenues to sustain a response to the other often immediate issues such as poverty or political stability. There are also those who refuse to switch to sustainable energy based on perceptions of how they work, how much they cost and for the classic problem of ‘range rage’ for electric vehicles which is slowly falling due to an increase in battery performance and more super fast charging stations being installed. The relative price of solar or wind is now so good that it is more than competing against alternative or what we have come to call traditional or conventional fuel sources.

So I implore you to take one simple message, we can’t carry on like this and if you personally take a stance and take the plunge towards a greener more sustainable world, others will follow. Switch energy provider, divest from fossil fuels and invest in community owned sustainable forms of energy, plant a tree, drive less and walk more. Need I go on? We all know that there is no time to lose, so go green.
If your looking for an alternative way to fill a Christmas Stocking or spend money on Black Friday or Cyber Monday try our shop and support the forum as we try to grow and support the green community. CrowdLeaf Store we are doing our own version of Black Friday here early CrowdLeaf, Green Friday and Cyber Monday for us is Clean Monday. Keep an eye on our store for sone pretty amazing world friendly products with discounts for the weekend only.




The Green Shoots of Crowdfunding by @rwscarter

There is a beautiful bottom-up revolution underway in the energy market, but like all revolutions there is hurdles the question is can the state facilitate the green revolution, I think it should. This requires putting into reverse how the state has been seen in market interventions as a monolithic agent ‘crowding-out’ competition. I believe that the state can and should act smart and counter to popular opinion ‘crowd-in’ the market, breaking the hegemonic cartel of the ‘Big Six’. As of 2013 renewable energy provides a mere 21.7% of all electricity generated across the globe, so it is time to harness the ‘green revolution’ going on in the energy market and push for a sustainable future not turn our backs on it.

Despite government attacks on ‘Feed in tariffs’ there is still a green light on sustainable energy solutions in this race against time and despite being the new tool in the arsenal crowdfunding seems to be meeting the demand for these solutions. Crowdfunding allows substantial sums to be made up from small contributions. Now with a boom in crowdfunding it is time the new far lower barriers to participation so everyone can make a difference no matter how large or small their contribution. The most significant barrier to participation to-date has been regulation and patents, but ideas do not need the support of the ‘Big Six’ to make it to market any longer as the crowd can facilitate the struggle towards a democratic and dynamic market model.

In the past, we have seen a number of promising ideas surrounding tackling the energy crisis being bought by large multinational corporations and never seen again such as the original design for electric car batteries. This cycle cannot be allowed to continue. Crowdfunding has the potential to empower groups of people who feel a responsibility towards the planet and allows them collectively wield their power, to take a moral stance fostering a sustainable difference. The short-term or short-sighted moves on energy pursued by governments and corporations, such as the controversial plans for fracking, or rip off nuclear plants run by China, can, if we want it to be a part of the past not the future. For this and many other reasons, green crowdfunding and a municipalisation and publicity owned and conscious energy market is not going anywhere but up. Evidence suggests that the really big challenges facing society, such as energy and climate change, cannot be met by the state, large companies, well-intentioned individuals or any other agent acting alone, so putting the values of co-operation into our heads, hearts and policy is now surely non-negotiable.

There is serious scope for intervention and municipalisation in the energy market, councils have socialised consumers to bargain a better price going someway towards helping ease fuel poverty. This proves that when society pulls together then there can be a real drive towards significant change. Crowdfunding, community funds and co-operative solutions offer the possibility of a seismic change; this is never truer than in sectors of strategic and societal significance such as renewable energy and financing innovative solutions. Large scale ‘crowd-led’ projects have taken place in Norway and Denmark for example which has contributed towards reducing carbon emissions while this stronger form of energy security has allowed these countries to continue without worry to expanding their business and industrial bases. Cooperatives and collaborative finance tend to play a much larger role in the energy markets of these countries; one of the largest wind turbine Cooperatives in the world is in Denmark, where 50% is owned by a ‘crowd’ of 10,000 investors and 50% by a municipal utility company.

Co-operatives across the country following examples of other co-operatives across Europe have begun issuing community-based shares a form of online crowdfunding with voting rights to tackle this sort of problem. There have also been Housing Association schemes aiming to tackle fuel poverty by installing solar cells on residents’ roofs to lower the cost of energy this had success with Leeds Housing Association using Abundance a green energy crowdfunding platform. There is no reason as to why the councils could not build their own solar farms, wind turbines or perhaps invest in any other form of clean or renewable energy independently using their pension funds or council budget. Nottingham Council have done just that setting up Robin Hood Energy as a municipal not-for-profit enterprise.

Going forward these green shoots from the crowd, municipal authorities and cooperatives will be put under real strain, but together tackling fuel poverty, sustainability and an un-equitable market will be enough to ride the wave. This hegemony will not last forever in its place will be a truly public interest, democratic and dynamic energy market with people not profits at its core. There is many ways to get involved in crowdfunding for renewable energy and local community cooperatives, you won’t be alone in doing so.

Oringally published on : https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/the-green-shoots-of-crowdfunding/11/11/ it is an older piece and all facts were acurate at the time.





Big Cat Coffee campaign – Support for Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF UK) & Cheetah Outreach (South Africa)

I @rwscarter recently had the pleasure of meeting Shelly, she told me of this great campaign and all the great work that it supports – read on to find out more. Also if you or anyone you know owns or works in a coffee shop – make it happen.

Shelley Lozano of Southampton, Hampshire, started her ‘BIG CAT Coffee’ campaign several years ago to help raise awareness and funds in support of big cat conservation projects worldwide.  She has at least a dozen participating venues in the Southampton area and is hoping to expand this in other towns and cities.  Shelley has worked tirelessly building up this unique campaign in collaboration with registered wildlife charities and is working with the Cheetah Conservation fund (CCF UK) and Cheetah Outreach (South Africa) to try to get the BIG CAT COFFEE campaign in every town in the UK (and possibly worldwide!) to raise awareness and funds for cheetah conservation as numbers continue to decline.  Many big cats are now endangered or threatened with extinction.

This is a simple idea to help raise funds by something most of us do every day – drink coffee.  An easy, convenient and pleasurable way to help raise funds for the cheetah by drinking a cup of coffee (tea, or other beverage) knowing that you have contributed in the fight for the plight to save the cheetah and other big cats such as leopard or caracal.

To help attract venues and keep customers interested Shelley updates them with her BIG CAT conservation newsletter, offering free publicity with a photo or link to the charities’ website and possibly even a mention on her weekly  ‘Wildlife Show’ radio show – the only local radio show dedicated to wildlife conservation, on Southampton’s 103.9 Voice FM every Sunday 1-3pm.

Please join Shelley in this unique coffee campaign and support CCF and other registered wildlife charities by purchasing a coffee at participating venues and add your donation to the charity tin displayed at the participating venue.

Enjoy a BIG CAT Coffee, Cheetahchino, Cheetah Latte, Mocha Cheetah, Cheetahspresso or any other ‘BIG CAT’ drink (we can also supply venues with paw print stencils if requested), for an extra 20p or whatever you can afford, by adding your donation to the charity tin and help us to raise funds for the cheetah – Africa’s most endangered big cat.

Dogs saving big cats. Your donation will go to help support the CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog programme which protects farmers’ livestock from predation and helps prevent cheetah and other big cats on farms being shot, trapped, poisoned and killed.  Time is running out!  Please support our amazing BIG CAT COFFEE campaign and help save the cheetah from extinction!

If you are a Cafe or other venue wishing to participate in our BIG CAT Coffee campaign or if you would like to volunteer or help find new venues in your area, please contact Shelley Lozano on 07747 804447 or email shelleylozano@mail.com for further details or see website: www.bigcatconservation.webs.com                                                      

BIG CAT Conservation’s BIG CAT COFFEE campaign, working in support of free ranging cheetah in South Africa for Cheetah Outreach (SA) and CCF (UK) the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Livestock Guarding Dog Project for the conservation of free ranging cheetah in Namibia.                                            www.cheetah.org.uk    http://cheetah.org.uk/get-involved/big-cat-coffee  http://www.cheetah.co.za/







Man-Made Earthquakes ?! What & How on BBCRadio4

Fellow readers – I stumbled across this rather daunting piece of information while looking for a possible man-made disaster for an upcoming ‘Climate Mitigation Game’ that is currently in the early formation phases. I continue to be hocked by the size, scale and scope of human and human made climate change or disasters we collectively are responsible for.

This is worth listening to in its entirety – Man-made Earthquakes are rarely explained but here they are and it is done so very concisely in this BBC Radio 4 snippet.

 

Horror stories from mining that upset the balance of the earths crust, to damns in China causing magnitude 8 quakes. This just further emphasizes how much of an impact we as human are having on earth.

While I have your attention  – Crowdleaf’s store is doing Black Friday & Cyber Monday a bit differently (would you expect anything else) were offering 10% discount between the 24th and 27th of March by using the code Green&Clean10 .

 







SDG´s 12+14= the panoptic for plastic waste by @MarIntroini

Arch2O-Whilwind-01

When Foucault creates the concept of a panoptic for the criminal system he didn’t realized its real potential and that it could be applied for other areas in which there is danger for our societies, in this case for our oceans.

If there were a constant surveillance and a rational and responsible consumption maybe plastics would not represent a threat, however under current circumstances without a proper waste management and recycling process it becomes a real challenge.

Millions of plastic bottles finish in the ocean, which means that there is a terrible lack of awareness from individuals that goes beyond the own negative impact in the environment. Is an endemic problem that starts with indifference and misbehaving and end on lack of Education. Indeed, about 8m tones of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year, more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic float in the world’s oceans, breaking into smaller pieces*.

U.N. goals 12+ 14 may be the clue for addressing this relentless path towards contamination; Responsible Consumption and Production and Life below waterare the two main goals to search for resilience in terms of plastic waste management and preservation of oceans. But how could we plan our response effectively?

Is estimated that by 2050 it will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, coincidentally by the same year, there is another forecast establishing that the entire SDG´s will not be achieved. Which is the real burden? Lack of information seems to be the answer, at least right now. Sadly instead of being focused on strategic planning we are still delivering basic info.

 But let´s be positive and focusing in those actions that are succeeding and delivering solutions in the short-term: Projects Faro 360 in Kaolack, Senegal a “waste tolerance” city exposure the fact that individual action + innovation makes possible a recycling process of plastics and minds.

Commitment from corporations: the road ahead. Changing cultural business codes is the clue and could only be achieved working on the following roads:

1) Cleaning –literally- oceans from plastic waste

2) Innovative forms of packaging

3) Education process at all levels to get commitment from the people: responsible consumption and waste management.

In the end Education becomes another key element and a sort kind of “panoptic” from which we could control corporation’s work, public policies and individual action.

Control, supervision, regulation, etc., a close look to SDG´s and their ambitious targets make us conclude that without pressure there is no results. We need to build new innovative structures through raise awareness and strong legislation based on creativity and capacity to influence people effectively. It is proven that information is currently the main challenge, a fact that transforms any effort for success useful if there is not a solid political will to address it.

Financial aspects seems to be a controversial point; SDG´s supposes an investment of 5 to 7 trillions and even if the world has never been wealthier as now is it also true that there are big troubles in terms of distribution. It´s important to highlight that this is not an ideological matter, the equal distribution is much more than a political position but a reality that is driven the world into stagnation. If there are still countries submitted into poverty means the total failure of a goal on sustainability There is not a possibility to get to successful goals if parts of the planet are still under basic standards for accessing to clean water or safe environments, that is so that the “plastic issue” become and universal issue and also an universal responsibility.

 

Tolerance 0 to plastic waste! 12 + 14= sustainable oceans.







10th year of the pioneering SuperHomes Open Days

This year marks the 10th year of SuperHomes, the innovative and multi-award winning national network of over 200 homes which have all reduced their carbon footprint by a minimum of 60%. SuperHome owners will open their doors this September as part of our Open House events, and there is a record 100 free events occurring this year across the UK. 

SuperHomes is a project managed by the National Energy Foundation, an independent charity that aims to reduce the use of energy in buildings.
The Open Days are a great opportunity for visitors to see for themselves both the challenges and benefits associated with making older homes more energy efficient, and view retrofit technologies in action. The free Open House events occur every September where the SuperHome owners provide honest and detailed accounts of their renovation stories and offer invaluable advice and guidance.
Since 2007 SuperHomes has been at the forefront of domestic eco-retrofit and the network continues to lead the way in carbon conscious renovation. To date, 222 homeowners have all transformed their properties through environmentally minded renovation resulting in lower energy bills, smaller carbon footprints and a huge increase in comfort levels.
SuperHomes include all types of houses, ranging from Grade II listed 16th Century ironstone properties to 1990’s build ex-council houses; from 6 bed Victorian mansions to 1940 terraces; from idyllic ecolodge retreats in rural Snowdonia to single story flats in the heart of London.

The technology found within and around the properties is innovative and market leading, and our SuperHomes offer exceptional, and often unique, examples of green technologies.

In addition to the more mature aspects of green renovation such as external wall insulation, solar PV panels and heat pumps, our houses boast a variety of cutting edge technologies such as Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, green roofs, biomass boilers, and even whole house airtight membranes.

SuperHomes are pioneers in renewable technology and energy efficiency.






We have a number of SuperHomes opening for the first time this year. This includes our most recent addition Pamela whose 1920s ex-Council house in North London is carbon neutral! She achieved this by installing many technologies, including Solar Water Heating, Solar PV Panels and Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery. Visit Pamela on 16th/17th September on a free tour. Another interesting first time opener is Paul from Flintshire who retrofitted his 1960s home for under £10,000, and still managed to achieve a carbon saving of 64%! Visit Paul for a tour on the 9th September to learn about how to keep eco-retrofit affordable. To find an Open Day near you please visit http://www.superhomes.org.uk/get-inspired/events/.

Energy used in the home accounts for more than a quarter of total energy use and carbon emissions in the UK. Houses in the UK are some of the least energy efficient in Europe, and the majority of the housing stock is made up of older homes which are typically very energy inefficient. Without tackling this problem and improving the energy efficiency of homes we will not be able to meet our emissions target of an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 to meet the requirements of the legally binding Climate Change Act. Open House events like SuperHomes are great ways to distribute knowledge and passion about retrofit, and persuade people to take the carbon conscious decision to reduce energy use in their home.

The current, post-Green Deal (the Coalition Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy that was scrapped in 2015), climate, with lowered green incentives and a distinct lack of interest from subsequent governments has seen the focus on eco-retrofit waver. Yet the refurbishment of our homes and buildings is one of the greatest challenges we face to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. SuperHomes harnesses the enthusiasm of our energy saving pioneers to stimulate community-led renovation.
SuperHome Open Days occur throughout the year with a co-ordinated national event throughout September. Most of our openings coincide with Heritage Open Days (7-10th September) and London Open House (16/17th September). To find out more visit www.superhomes.org.uk
To help SuperHomes celebrate this anniversary we’ve partnered with the Ecology Building Society who are supporting this year’s September openings.

SuperHome owner #59, Mark Brown stands in front of his 1980’s detached house. The High Wycombe property has achieved 90% carbon savings. Visit on 9th/10th September.

The Wave of Plastic Pollution is a problem – @AdamManning of @GreenHampshire & @rwscarter of @CrowdLeaf

Plastic in our natural environment has become an urgent issue that our society needs to address and Ryan recently focused on this in his once a month CrowdLeaf radio slot with Xan Phillips on VoiceFM 103.9. (This is on from 8pm on the first Thursday of the month.) Plastic in the form of nurdles and plastic products are a serious problem for marine life, beach life and for the food system.
Many people who believe they are being as good to the environment as they can be do not knowingly pollute the seas with plastic or other products. However, plastic fibres from polyester and acrylic clothing are polluting the seas on an industrial scale. One 6kg wash produces 140,000 fibres from polyester-cotton blend, half a million polyester fibres and nearly 3/4 of a million acrylic fibres.
If each and every house is doing this just once a week that is an awfully large quantity and the rate at which people throw away clothes is pandemic. It is worse to throw these away than it is to wash them and the onus should be on the producers of such items to change the material to stop the pollution at source.
There are alternatives that companies can and should be looking at such as natural products, lyocell made from trees, leather made from Pineapple and more… and we as consumers need to demand these.

One important way forward is to take advantage of producers who are using alternative products to traditional plastics.
These scary numbers are just the beginning. Micro fibres from soaps, body wash and cosmetic products are also washing down our drains into the seas. Recently a plastic soup of millions of pieces of plastic was discovered in our oceans. Earlier this year, 38 million pieces of plastic were found on Henderson Island. What is this doing to our natural habitats? Our animal welfare laws wouldn’t allow this for pets but for wildlife, sadly we have different standards.

The problem of plastic pollution often becomes clear during the course of a litter pick. Litter picking as a form of environmental activism has grown markedly in popularity in recent years. Individuals are taking the initiative to clear up rubbish, as are groups of many different sizes. This includes volunteer groups who look after particular areas, such as Friends of Weston Shore, larger and more established organisations such as the Keep Britain Tidy or the Marine Conservation Society and now new, online initiatives, such as #2minutebeachclean and Litterati.

Keen litter pickers will spend a lot of time picking up plastic items in an event of this sort. Their work is vital in clearing up our natural environment as plastic will, if not removed, last effectively forever.
At a larger scale than plastic fibres, this includes plastic bottles, for water or soft drinks. As well as spoiling the natural beauty of an area, they can be a danger to wildlife. Mice and shrews can climb into them, perhaps spotting a mouthful of water to drink inside, and then be unable to climb up out again, leaving them trapped. Other animals, similarly looking for a drink, can trap their snouts or beaks in a plastic bottle, making them unable to shake them off.

Plastic ring binders are another serious problem. These are the loops of plastic that are typically used to keep groups of four or six beer cans together. They can snare both land living animals like foxes, birds and even snakes but also, if they are caught by the tide, turtles, dolphins and other sea life. There is a famous case of a young turtle entwined in a twisted six pack ring whose body deformed as it grew, until its body ultimately became a figure of eight, the ring still stuck around its unnaturally narrow waist. If they are not removed from the environment, they pose a danger to wildlife.

Cotton buds are another persistent problem. These small lengths of plastic tubing are all over our beaches, washed up by the tide. People use cotton buds to clean their ears and noses or for arts and crafts, household cleaning and other uses round the house. It seems that after they have been used, some people throw them down the toilet to dispose of them. The cotton buds then go through our sewage system, which is not designed for such products. Later, they are flushed out to sea only to ultimately end up washed up on our shores, without the fluffy cotton bits at either end, which will have disintegrated in the sewage system. Surveys by the Marine Conservation Society indicate that 60% of sewage related beach litter is from cotton buds. Just don’t throw them down the toilet!

Nurdles are another form of plastic pollution, especially on our beaches. These are tiny beads of plastic, about the size of lentils, used in the creation of plastic products. They end up in our natural areas, including our shores, from spills or accidents while they are being shipped from place to place in the production process. Nurdles, like the plastic fibres we are learning about, represent a serious pollution problem, both in the water and on land. They attract and concentrate other pollutants to them. Like all plastic, they can fragment and breakdown into smaller pieces, becoming harder to handle and remove. Animals of all sorts can mistake nurdles for food like fish eggs or seeds, especially in the water, and this can make them sick or kill them.

Part of the problem with nurdles in our natural environment is that their small size makes them difficult to remove. An average litter picker will be unable to pick them up. Chesil Bay in Southampton, a beautiful part of the shore in the city, has a particular nurdle pollution problem. In some patches this is so bad, there seems to be more nurdles than soil.

Nurdles and other plastic debris often ends up in being deposited in natural areas because human created parts of the environment, such as sea walls, docks or piers are hard surfaces. When the plastic debris comes into contact with these, the nurdles, cotton buds and so forth, are deflected away. As a result, when they come to rest in a natural area, this will be where they stay. So, nurdles and other plastic debris tend to build up on a natural area of shoreline.

There is an urgent need to take action at each stage of the plastic production process so that our natural environment is not ruined in the way that has been building up for years.






For Green innovation we need Green Education by @ MarIntroini

That´s the challenge and the greatest revolution: being educated around a Green culture able to develop strong skills and become sustainable individual and collectively.

Once again Education become the powerful pillar for building new structures. A no reliable political system and global institutions that progressively are loosing capacity of influence transform Education in the only source for new initiatives.

Work towards a sustainable world that face climate change with determination is not a matter of “recycling” or “reducing energy consumption” but of educating generations around the concept of being green. That supposes more than specific actions but entire systems around a green culture. Is not happening.

Green Education is not about educating people around green issues but to boost green professionals. Architects, engineers, activists are all professions directly linked with the environment, however a resilient world could only be built by a deeper action. Lawyers, politicians, teachers are also paramount for creating frameworks and spaces of green action and reflection; because a green education is also about “construction “ of creative minds that from any field of work could achieve a goal of innovation and adaptation.

Simply… make a real revolution in our Education systems.

A world hit by crisis and a population no prepared to change the system don´t lead to redirected the society into a “resilient focus”. It is here that Education plays that fundamental role to create enough defenses against uncertainties. A pillar through which the rest of the reforms could be addressed from a stronger position.

The question is: are we educating to boost professionals able to innovate? or are we delivering traditional education systems with additional updates on technology? There is a big difference and current systems do not seems to see it, leaving innovation only for creative people that develop a particular skill over a particular green project. Innovation is normally seen as a consequence of Education, but it should be the educational system that prepares professionals to work and live in a world of uncertainty that is demanding a permanent state of Innovation.

Education and Innovation feed each other, we need to educate on how innovate and we need also to Innovate on how we educate. Creating professionals able to adapt to any kind of work to face new challenges.
To be prepared for a new dimension we need to build globally although from an individual basis in which a Green Education delivers the platform to boost the workforce that goes beyond current parameters.
It is not just about innovating educational systems but to reshape current system accordingly to the new challenges. It is also a matter of transforming patterns of learning by maximizing creativity and preparing to innovate in all disciplines. The holistic approach that we are referring needs innovation at all levels and not just reserved for “skillful and creative minds”

In current process of awareness of the need to build a Green culture it becomes essential to prepare individuals to be innovators in all professions for facing uncertainties and build resilient societies. The more educated we are, the more prepared we´ll be to search for innovative solutions that face adaptation challenges with strength and determination.

 

Mar Introini

Blogger/Analyst Political-Economy thesustainabilityreader.com







How to Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization: Part 3 Scale by Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

The Challenge: Since the path to sustainability is rooted in local context, creating an overarching corporate program that is also relevant to numerous departments and locations may seem counter-intuitive. How do we create an overarching corporate sustainability program that is relevant to every employee and is implementable across an entire organization, especially those with diverse departments, services and geographic locations? How could we implement programming that would be relevant to office, laboratory, retail and field-based settings or perhaps in operations located in New York City, New Delhi and in a small rural town in northern Canada?

Another key consideration when we are thinking through the scope of corporate vs. local, is that the reverse also needs to be considered. How does the program engage employees to directly understand their impact locally on organizational performance? For example, would employees be able to read a sustainability report and relate their everyday actions to the outcomes that the organization reports on? Do employees feel that their daily actions make a difference toward organizational goals?

An Effective Approach: “Strategic Flexibility”: I encourage an approach that I like to call “Strategic Flexibility”. This approach is about finding an effective balance with aligned action between corporate level targets and locally organized events and activities.

What does this mean in action? Companies focus program efforts on their overarching sustainability targets, but provide local autonomy by working with all locations to plan how they will meet the company targets in a way that is relevant to their specific context.

Strategic flexibility is where the “top down” big picture planning, meets the “bottom up” operational insights and practicality. Each approach has advantages, but reliance on only one restricts the potential effectiveness and success of your strategic goals. It combines the strategic alignment of efforts with the business vision, while leveraging local experience, operational knowledge and momentum of existing initiatives. Creating efforts that are strategically flexible builds trust, commitment, enthusiasm, buy-in at every level, and company resilience by creating the space to be responsive to internal and external influences.

How it Works: Whether your program focuses on individuals or teams, create an overarching framework around your organization’s sustainability targets that is clear and relatable to your sustainability reporting. Using the focused framework you have created for guidance, allow local offices to develop their own plans to address each target. Local offices may or may not be implementing the same activities, but they will all be working towards overarching sustainability targets.

Some key elements for implementation:

Local Planning – Encourage the development of a local sustainability plan by involving the entire office/location. Sustainability/Green Teams often only look within their limited group for ideas, champions and resources. Developing a local sustainability plan by involving all employees will open up avenues for participation, discussion, ideas, solutions, collaboration and resources.

Encourage involvement in the process by providing various approaches that appeal to employees’ interests and time commitments. This is an amazing opportunity to build on the momentum of existing local activities, previous success and identify local champions. When it’s time to prioritize and decide on action plans, create space for productive discussion; for example host solution lunches, where you can bring into the fold anyone interested in a specific issue or initiative by discussing solutions to a particular challenge.

Local Support – This sort of “bottom coming up to meet top” approach will be a new concept to many people, so providing ongoing support for planning and implementation for local offices is important and necessary. Having a strong support network for them to move forward will be key. In addition to corporate assistance, creating a community support network of local champions/mentors is also effective.

Networking and Knowledge Sharing – Providing an avenue for discussion, sharing ideas, success stories and advice on lessons learned is an effective way to make offices feel supported and ultimately more successful. Learning from each other and feeling connected as a community working toward a common goal greatly increases enthusiasm and momentum.

Want to learn more?

Watch for the next installment of our 6-part “Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization: Part 4 – How to Systemize “ series. We will focus on how to systemize your program, no matter the size, function or structure of your organization or program.

Start a Sustainability Movement Series:

· Part 1: Steps to follow

· Part 2: Building buy-in at every level

· Part 3: How to scale

· Part 4: How to systemize

· Part 5: All in for sustainability

· Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Connect with Wendy om the links below.

Twitter: @EngageIntl https://twitter.com/EngageIntl

LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte https://uk.linkedin.com/in/wendyfirlotte

Wendy is a Corporate Sustainability Employee Engagement Strategist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and purpose into aligned and embedded employee action.